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Help Defend Blogger's Rights

By - March 17, 2005

Boing Boing is filing an amicus brief in the Apple V. the Blogosphere case. I’ve refrained from comment as it’s not totally search related, but honestly, this is a very bad precedent. I break news here, and intend to keep doing it, much as I did for MacWeek back in 1988. Apple didn’t sue me then, because I was working for an “organization.” But now, if it’s just me, they can? Hogwash.

In any case, we’re looking for examples of blogs breaking news stories. If you have em, send em to BB’s counsel. More info on where and how is at this post.

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6 thoughts on “Help Defend Blogger's Rights

  1. Hank says:

    From what’s been reported of the judge’s ruling, this is not about bloggers vs. “legitimate” journalists. The judge said that the information was a legitimate trade secret and that there was no public right to know this particular information that override Apple’s rights. So he declined to consider whether Think Secret is or isn’t a journalist because it didn’t affect whether Apple had the right to demand the source’s name. And unless you believe that the press has the right to publish anything, any time, and that a plaintiff’s rights are *always* superceded by the right to keep sources confidential, the question becomes whether this is a case where the public or the plaintiff has the greater claim.

  2. Kevin O'Shea says:

    I totally agree with the above. The EFF & everyone else jumping on this are totally blowing it. This is not the case they should be using to try and defend bloggers journalistic rights, which I happen to agree with. Apple would have done the exact same thing if this info was published by the San Jose Mercury News, and the judges logic would have required them to disclose their source as well.

  3. Guys – If this were a trade journal, or the Mercury News, I’d feel exactly the same way. When I covered Apple in the late 80s, I regularly published “trade secrets.” Why? Because my readers wanted to know, and in fact often saved millions of dollars by what they knew. One time I published a photo and description of a motherboard for the Mac IIci, many companies held off on purchasing older Macs to wait for the new machine. Apple was pissed, but a reputable source gave me the machine, and I went with it. Why didn’t Apple sue me? Why?

  4. Big companies always target the little guys. Apple probably thought that they would be taking on a bunch of nobodies but reckoned without EFF and the blogosphere. I covered satellite tv piracy and hacking for about 15 years and most of the stuff I wrote about was very close to the line so this Apple case brings back a lot of memories. The move by Apple to have this considered as a Trade Secrets case was very clever because most bloggers have no idea of where they stand on trade secrets and copyright legislation. Having a blog does not confer a right to air all trade secrets. The only defence in doing so would be that doing so is in the public interest.

    It could have been argued that publishing the data on the new Mac IIci motherboard was in the public interest because a lot of people stood to lose money on purchasing outmoded equipment. It would have been a reasonable public interest defence but Apple would probably have lost more by taking legal action.

  5. Tom Norian says:

    Keep up the good work…I agree that this is an important issue.

    Especially as software and commercial aggregators become media companies, if people can’t report on their inner workings there are no checks on them.

    Even in the “bad old days” of network oligpoy, the news portions of the networks had some honor and dream about the social importance of vigorous and unthwarted reporting.

    Saw a guy on the daily show with a book about it the other day.

  6. Lumpy says:

    I agree, it is rather scarey. You are right in the sense that when you were employed in the field you were not target. Why should you be in the case of an individual?

    Personally, I think it has to do with the fact that you "can" be.

    We have former employers suing programers for ideas, the AIM EULA laying claims to anything and everything, malware companies sueing sites which inform us of the hazards of malware, and the, soon to become illegal, proxy registration of .usa accounts. It really seems that individual rights are eroding away to corporate rights.

    I don’t agree with the other commenters. If an individual publishes something, in any form, it should be considered journalism. Otherwise we are going to let the courts decide what journalism is defined as or, worse, what legal standing bloggin will have. As long as no laws were broken getting the information or distributing, it should not matter whether he has 10 readers or 10000 billion trillion. It should not matter whether he is passing handbills out or selling one hundred thousand magazines.

    It is something to worry about.